WHAT DAMAGES ARE AVAILABLE IF YOU WIN AN FMLA DENIAL CASE?
The federal government enacted the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to give employees unpaid, protected leave for specified family and medical reasons. While on medical leave, the FMLA guarantees employees the continuation of health insurance coverage and their same job position when they return.
If you work for a state or federal agency for at least a year or work for a company with more than 50 employees for at least a year, then your workplace should provide time off for serious medical conditions. If you fit these parameters but were denied medical leave or were even fired for taking it, then you should seek legal counsel for the best chance at justice. Mann & Elias can provide you with a trusted lawyer for medical leave denial.
The most common situations the Los Angeles labor attorney for employees at Mann & Elias see when dealing with FMLA violations are:
- The employer refused to let their employee take time off to help a sick family member or to deal with their chronic severe illness themselves.
- The employer fired or disciplined the employee for requesting medical leave.
- The employer forced an employee to come back to work before their requested leave was through.
- The employee returned from their time off to find employers had removed them from their former position.
If you find your employer did not provide you with family leave for which you are legally entitled, then you can contact a sick leave attorney in Los Angeles to pursue a case against them. You may be wondering what exactly you will receive if you win the court case.
Reinstatement and Time Off for FMLA Violations
Under FMLA, the courts can order “injunctive relief,” meaning that your employer must stop or start a particular act as the result of their FMLA violation. These non-monetary damages are meant to right the wrong actions committed by your employer. The court may grant the following:
- Reinstatement – If you were denied your old job, fired from or asked to your position, or demoted upon your return from FMLA leave, the courts can order your reinstatement. To reinstate you, your employer must give you your old job back or put you in an equivalent position, meaning that you have the same pay, job duties, benefits, and authority.
- Time Off – The court can also order your employer to give you your FMLA leave after they previously denied the request.
Injunctive relief is a coercive act and deals more enforcing consequences on the employer rather than fining them. However, you will learn below that you can also win financial damages in your FMLA violation lawsuit.
Your lawyer can also argue that the courts grant you financial compensation for your damages following the FMLA violation at your workplace. Monetary damages get awarded to make up for the harm the employee suffered at the hands of their employer. Common financial damages are:
- Back pay
- Front pay
- Liquidated damages
- Emotional or punitive damages
The judge may order that your employer gives you any lost back pay. Back pay refers to any withheld wages, salary, and benefits because of retaliation following your medical leave. The back pay should cover the lost earnings from the date of termination, or other wrongful action by your employer, to the date of the verdict in your case.
Front pay refers to wages, salary, and benefits that will be lost as a result of the workplace’s wrongful actions. (from the date of the judgment to some point in the future). For example, if you’re unlikely to find a new job for another year, you may be awarded front pay for that year.
Liquidated damages might get awarded in addition to actual damages. They double the plaintiff’s amount if the employer is found to have knowingly denied their employee their FMLA-mandated time off. If the employer can show that it made an honest mistake, they do not have to pay liquidated damages.
Depending on the state in which your FMLA violation lawsuit takes place, you may be able to win emotional damages or punitive damages. California does not permit emotional damages or punitive damages for these kinds of lawsuits.
Mann & Elias is an LA-based law firm with dedicated lawyers that can help you build a case against your employer as well as argue your claims in court. We have experience in pursuing financial damages and injunctive relief for employees who have had their FMLA rights violated. Contact us to go over your case during a free consultation.